Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kenneth Fearing On Words and Writing

Some reflections on the craft of writing by the author of The Big Clock, who was also a terrific poet. This excerpt comes from the Preface to his New and Selected Poems from 1956.

"There can be a unique exhilaration in creative writing, and it can offer the surprise of final discovery. These qualities exist in life (sometimes), and if they are not to be found in a verbal presentation of it, then the reader (or audience) has been cheated and the writer has been killing everyone's time. This excitement and surprise must be real, not counterfeit, and have in it the breath of those crises upon which most people feel their lives are poised, sometimes crossing into them, in fact, and then rarely with routine behavior, seldom with standardized results. A writer cannot do much to transmit an excitement he does not feel, and the only surprises are those that find themselves, as the work grows." – Kenneth Fearing, Preface to New and Selected Poems (1956)

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Photo by Jean Purcell, circa 1940

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I always tell folks you need to feel the emotions you're trying to convey.

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